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December 9, 2008

Unique multimedia conference supports Government agenda to cut carbon emissions

A pioneering event took place recently in seven locations across the UK, to provide a blueprint for sustainable change in the way conferences, workshops and seminars are run.

Natural England, the Government’s independent adviser on wildlife and the natural environment, brought together 2,500 of its employees for an annual conference to celebrate achievements and discuss challenges on a regional and national scale.

True to its ethos, it commissioned event specialist The Live Group to manage and implement an event that had a fraction of the carbon footprint of traditional large-scale conferences.

To achieve this, seven venues were selected across the UK to host the conference simultaneously.  The event was facilitated from the NEC in Birmingham and included venues in London, Leeds, Bristol, Peterborough, Preston and Nottingham.  Delegates were encouraged to choose the location closest to them to reduce travel and, therefore, their carbon footprint.

Videoconferencing, the internet and bespoke audience engagement technology joined the sites together to provide one engaging real-time event. All 2,500 delegates were able to see and hear each other, watch presentations and ask questions to keynote speakers. regardless of location.

“Effective communication and coordination within Natural England is fundamental to the work we do, but the challenges of bringing people together while realising carbon reductions is very real,” said Alex Adam, communications manager at Natural England. “We have encouraged staff to attend a location closest to them to minimise travel plus these venues have been selected for the public transport links they offer. Everything during the day has felt like a large-scale one-venue conference to maintain the networking buzz that internal conferences should deliver, plus reduce the environmental impact of traditional one-venue events.”

Through the use of its audience engagement technology, LiveInteractive, The Live Group is enabling group working between delegates at different venues, delivering the valuable networking opportunities and sharing of best practice that Natural England’s team enjoyed.

“The Government is leading by example on how every gramme of carbon counts when striving for a footprint reduction,” said The Live Group’s managing director Toby Lewis. “Furthermore, with pressure on commerce to report on carbon emissions by 2012, attention on the travel footprint of private employees will also come under greater scrutiny. The way we communicate internally and externally via live events is changing.”

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